Iowa >> Children today spend half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago. To engage local youth in outdoor exploration, the Three Rivers Chapter in Waverly, Iowa, created a summer science camp in 2012 called, “Junior Explorers: The Science of the World around Us.” The week-long camp, led by a local science teacher with the help of League members and two high school students (a great mentoring opportunity!), was geared toward children ages 8 through 12.
Youth studied their local surroundings and observed insects and aquatic life under a microscope; tracked wildlife and learned about the eating habits of different animals; and planted native seeds to observe seed development. They also hiked outdoor trails, drew pictures and enjoyed outdoor crafts, went fishing, shot pellet rifles, and learned archery. There were even exercises in creative problem solving.
The program was so well-received that the chapter plans to host a Junior Explorers camp again this summer — and continue introducing local kids to the wonders of outdoor America.